Written by Ann Brennan
Three weeks ago I looked at the calendar and thought I might die from fright. I was absolutely sure there was no way I could possibly be ready for Beach to Battleship Ironman in October. Fifteen weeks? That’s all I had? It took everything I had not to call Coach Jeff and tell him I could not do it, that I was once again backing out of a race.
Then I saw the schedule he had set up for me for the following week and watched the video he sent reminding me of the importance of getting in each and every workout. He reminded me that to get this done I had to fully commit. And I sat there, looking at the computer screen and asking myself what it was that was stopping me.
It isn’t that I am lazy or that I don’t enjoy the workouts. It isn’t that I am incapable of completing any given workout. When it came right down to it, I had been hesitating because I was not sure my family was ready.
Since my first child was born eighteen years ago, I have always been the one to sacrifice a workout. I don’t go out early because I don’t want to make anybody late or even nervous about being late. If they have a doctor’s appointment or a soccer game or practice, I have been the one to sacrifice my workout to make sure it gets done.
In some ways this makes me look like a good mom, but as I sat there, ready to sacrifice the Ironman, something I have dreamed of since I was 13 years old, I realized I have underestimated my family.
They would hate to know that I sacrificed a dream for them. As much as I have gained through supporting them over the years, they can gain from supporting me. By always sacrificing for them, I have taken something from them as well. I have taken away that feeling you get from knowing you are part of someone’s success.
Still, it is hard to break the habit. So every morning, when I wake up early and leave for my bike, run or swim, knowing that my sixteen-year-old daughter might be woken up early during her summer vacation by her little brother, I have to remind myself that yes, I am being selfish but my family is okay with that. They understand that this is short term. When I missed the first day of my daughter’s first soccer tournament in three months in order to get in my long ride, I had to fight with my inner mommy and remind myself that its only three months. Yes, I am being selfish but I am doing it with a goal in mind.
Hopefully in the end, as my children watch me commit to my daily routine, as they stand on the beach and watch me enter the water and as they see me cross that finish line in downtown Wilmington, hopefully, they will gain something. Hopefully it will mean something to them to know that all of the sacrifices they are making now are at least partially responsible for my getting it done. Because, without a doubt, without my family, without their support and their sacrifice, I could not do this.